We left Mr. Steele contemplating a closed door.
We next see Laura’s cute little VW Rabbit pulling up outside the theatre. We now know the name of the film that was playing: “Kokusai.”
Google tells me that “Kokusai” translates as “international,” a rather uninspired name for a film. But it doesn’t matter, because imdb tells me there never was a film called Kokusai. Maybe it’s referring to an international film festival playing at the theatre? And yet … it was a Japanese film in a Japanese theatre. SO MANY MYSTERIES HERE!
Laura stumbles upon Murphy, apparently waiting for his mom to pick him up after the show. He seems agitated. Laura wants to know if he’s come up with anything.
“I never got the chance, Laura,” he rants. “You gotta keep that guy and his mantle out of my hair!”
Um … anybody else get the feeling that Murphy might not know what “mantle” means?
Laura is confused. “His mantle?”
Murphy doesn’t have t
he vocabulary time to explain what mantle means. “He screwed up the whole operation, not to mention the fact that I nearly took his head off!”
Now, Murphy. I think Mr. Steele was actually the victor in that contest.
Laura is disappointed in you, Murph. So, so disappointed.
“Look, I know it’s been rough between you two, but I really thought you had better control than that, Murph.”
Murphy is wounded. “Laura, come on. You don’t mean-“
Just then …
Sumo Steele arrives with big news! “Oh, good. You’re both here. I just had a tete a tete with the girl.”
How much you want to bet Murphy thinks a tete-a-tete is some kind of sandwich?
Steele gives his sidekick Murphy a hearty slap on the back.
This show of affection is perhaps as shocking to Laura as his announcement. But down to business!
“YOU found the girl?”
“Murphy led me right to her. That’s teamwork for you, eh?”
Oh, Murphy. Now aren’t you ashamed?
No, as it turns out.
Steele has a determined glint in his eye and a pronounced quirk to his forehead. “I wasn’t quite sure whether to believe it myself, but it appears that we’re on the right track with the Yakuza.”
“Yakuza?” Murphy questions. So many hard new words to learn today!
Let Laura explain.
“Robert Mitchum, Brian Keith, all about the Japanese underworld.”
Murphy is displeased with this answer.
“Oh, my God. He’s got you doing it now.” Do you think Murphy is feeling a little left out here?
Laura and Steele ignore Murphy’s barbs and continue their conversation.
“What did she say?” Laura wants to know.
Steele says he got the impression she and Kenji were “intimate,” but he apparently failed to mention his little bro.
What about the Palace of Heaven?
“Unfortunately, she ran back inside the theatre and disappeared before we got that far,” Steele explains, adding triumphantly, “At least now we know who claimed the body.”
“We do?” asks Murphy.
Come on, Murph. Try to keep up here.
“Sort of,” Laura says. “I finally got Dickerson on the phone. He’s coming by later for a positive ID. But he said it was a Japanese man.”
Waita waita waita minute! This does not tally with Steele’s information.
“A MAN? But she told me SHE claimed the body!”
Mr. Steele’s pained expression here reminds me of Pierce Brosnan’s astonishing turn in the musical “Mamma Mia.” In fact, I believe he wore just this same tortured visage while offering his now-infamous rendition of “S.O.S.” Let’s watch!
Laura, being a professional detective, makes a brilliant deduction: “Somebody is lying.”
Can I just say that Laura looks amazing in that fedora?
“Well, whoever claimed it had to sign the forms,” Murphy notes, desperately trying to stay relevant. “Who was it?”
Laura, whose maniacal expression suggests she’s perhaps seen one too many kung-fu movies herself, drops a bombshell: “MIKE ITO!”
“Oh, dear!” Mr. Steele says adorably. “This is beginning to go round in circles.”
Laura suggests that they’d better have a quiet word with their client. Steele agrees.
“Post-haste!” he declares authoritatively, making for the limo.
He stops and notices Laura heading for her own wheels. She gives him an enigmatic look. (What do you think Laura is trying to convey here?)
Steele is a man of decision, and he decides quickly …
… and sends Fred home alone.
Clearly, being on the case with Miss Holt holds more attraction than a ride in a high-class vehicle. He gives a bewildered looking Murphy a friendly pat as he passes. I think he believes they’re friends now! (Or perhaps the intimacy of their Sumo moment put their relationship on a very different footing. Suddenly Steele can’t seem to keep his hands off the bodacious Mr. Michaels)
Laura, belatedly remembering she has another employee standing on the sidewalk, asks if he wants to tag along.
“Oh, sure,” he grouses, clambering into the back seat. “Why not? Who knows: I may even figure out what’s going on around here.”
This scene further shows us the marginalization of poor Murphy, who is left to do the lackey jobs (“legwork”) with little thanks from Laura, while Mr. Steele seemingly stumbles into important clues and gets all the attention, if not necessarily praise. Sadly, I think Mr. Steele actually does kind of like Murphy and thinks of him as a colleague, while Mr. Michaels will never see him as other than a phony and and an interloper.